My favorite parts of Arisia

I think my first Arisia was in 1991. That’s a lot of conning… This year, I just went to a few events. And actually… hmm. I didn’t make it to a single of the 420 or so panels. I planned on making it to 5 or 10 but… hey.

So here are my favorites:

  • Artist Guest of Honor Arthur Ganson’s machines (he’s got some really nice videos of his work online). He gave a talk with videos and had some pieces at the Art Show. Cool.
  • Writer Guest of Honor Tim Powers talking about how his genre was crap and that everybody knows it. That was a very adventurous premise for a talk and it worked out very well. Witty, funny, fun, interesting.
  • Freedom Guest of Honor Eric Raymond’s speech. Some talking points I remember most are:

– He had fashion advice for geeks. In business dealings with non-techies, you should look like (and he admits that he borrowed this term from someone else, but then he also borrowed the term “open source” and did well with that, but I digress…) you should look like “a prince from another country”. If you try to wear a suit, you’ll just look like a junior executive. And their job is to go fetch coffee and get shat upon. Instead, wear Landsend loafers and expensive casual shirts and the like.

– Don’t use gushy emotions to market your product. Use fear, greed, vanity, and desire for control. Don’t say, “Buy open source because it’s good for the world.” Instead say, “Use open source because the driving motivation for closed source companies is to trap you in a proprietary environment and then raise prices. If your closed source provider goes belly-up, you’re in big trouble! Open source software is free and it works, today. If you want a new feature, your costs will be easily identifiable.”

– Middle management’s job is to say “no”. So don’t talk to middle management. They are “organizational conservators”. People at the bottom can do things but not make decisions. People at the top can make decisions but not do things. Talk to the top.

– If you’re selling a big idea, forget about advertising in technical papers. Go for the money-people, Wall St. Journal etc. Technical magazines don’t get read by decision makers.

It was also very interesting to see that there were 2 polyamory panels at Arisia.

I had wanted to see: Microcontrollers, Reading – Cecilia Tan, Origami, Icehouse Games demo, Foam Carving, Dr. Seuss, Special Filk Guest Concert: Tom Smith, The Golden Days of Classic Arcade, Internet Governance: Who Rules the Net?, What’s Up With Copyright These Days, The Digital Millenium Copyright Act at 5, Commissioned Art, Slide Show – Casting in Bronze, Are Radio Plays Dead?, Masquerade.

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